By Stephen Taylor, Business Development at Thermidas  

Infrared Thermography (IRT) presents a revolutionary approach for Care Homes in meeting the standards set forth by the Care Act 2014. The Care Act emphasises the importance of measuring and improving the wellbeing of residents, and research has shown that evidence of such, is highly valued by older people and their families when considering a Care Home.

Amongst the fundamental standards that Care Homes must provide is person-centred care, and the ability to measure both the social and health-care related quality of life of their residents. 

However, measuring person-centred outcomes is challenging, particularly when trying to assess the quality of life of people with cognitive impairment and communication difficulties. Research shows that pain, anxiety, and depression are often under-recognised and under-treated in care homes. 

Traditional methods struggle to measure person-centred outcomes, especially in residents with cognitive impairments. IRT offers an objective, non-invasive way to monitor and address issues like pain and thermal comfort, crucial for residents unable to communicate effectively.

So how can Care Homes measure the pain and thermal comfort of residents unable to self-report?

Infrared Thermography (IRT) is an objective, quantitative, non-invasive methodology providing visual representations of temperature distribution (thermograms), which clearly identifies areas of increased or decreased temperatures associated with infection, pain or cold.

The highly intuitive thermograms are easily understood by care home staff, residents, and their families, and can be used as evidence of exceptional care provision.

Pain and Infection Detection: Thermography, pioneered by Thermidas, offers a precise method for assessing pain and detecting infections early. It visually maps patterns of pain and inflammation, aiding in detecting conditions such as musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Additionally, IRT serves as an early warning system for serious health issues like infections, DVTs and pressure injuries.

Thermal Comfort: Studies have shown that IRT can reflect thermal comfort through cutaneous blood flow, particularly vital for older individuals susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Caregivers can utilise thermology to assess and maintain residents’ thermal comfort, thereby enhancing residents’ overall well-being.

Overall, IRT can transform care provision by providing Care Homes with a technology-driven approach to health assessment and patient-centred care; and a method to quantitatively measure and improve individual residents’ quality of life.

By exceeding statutory quality requirements and enhancing infection detection and control, Care Homes employing IRT can demonstrate measurably improved health-care related quality of life, achieve lower admittance rates to hospitals, gain higher resident satisfaction, and increased occupancy rates, ultimately allowing for the ability to charge premium rates.

Summary of IRT Benefits

For Residents For Care Home Providers
  • Improved welfare, health, and quality of life
  • Locate pain from MSD, Arthritis, Sciatica, and poorly fitting orthotics
  • Particularly useful with residents unable to communicate effectively
  • Early alerts for potentially serious health issues such as 
  • DVTs, Pressure Injuries, sub-clinical infections, and areas at risk of skin breaking
  • Reduction in hospitalisations
  • Evidence of leadership and exceptional care provision
  • Demonstrates compassion and dignity 
  • Evidence of helping residents get the most out of life
  • Increased resident (and family) satisfaction
  • Improved Care Home Ratings
  • Strong sales differentiator – a high tech USP
  • Higher occupancy levels
  • Ability to charge higher residency rates